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Costume store one-stop-shop for more than just Halloween

With Halloween in the past, most are packing their costumes away. But for some, playing dress up never ends.

Schoolkids Costume Shop at 12 S. Court St. may be branded as the “costume store,” but one look inside reveals that there is more to the shop than masks and tutus. Vintage posters and prints adorn the walls and fill binders and boxes, with knickknacks and novelty items lining the shelves.

The shop is the go-to place for students and community members looking for Halloween garb. Whether they are building a whole costume or just searching for that ever-elusive Obama mask, people flock to the store in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

“We don’t even really have closing times when it gets close to Halloween,” said Matthew Box, an employee of the store. “We kind of just stay open until everyone who is in the store leaves.”

After the block party, however, Box said the shop does not become irrelevant to the Uptown scene. Theme parties, birthdays and comic conventions create a year-round need for costumes in Athens.

“I use the costume shop for more than just Halloween,” said Gidget Marrison, a sophomore studying communication studies. “I did use it to get some last-minute accessories for my costumes, but it is great year round for themed parties and events, and it’s also where I get a lot of my posters.”

The shop also features a second floor with a vintage clothing department that changes daily. It not only brings in the vintage lovers of Athens, but visitors to the town as well, said Jan Wernet, an employee at the shop.

“People come in daily to see if the items have changed so that they can buy it for plays and shows or even just themselves,” Wernet said. “We also have a lot of people who are in the area for only a day who come and check out the store.”

That drive for multipurpose shopping is something that Box said the store’s employees actively try to achieve.

“We want to be that store that someone finds something that they are looking for that they can’t find anywhere else,” Box said. “We try to be the place that people find things that are unexpected.”

Because of the varied product line, the shop created in 2009, a website to help market the shop’s countless items to a worldwide audience.

Though the store has taken to the Internet to sell some of its items, Wernet said the in-store environment is an important part of the overall shopping experience.

“We just hope people have fun coming in here,” she said. “It’s like a treasure hunt of the greatest things that you’d never thought that you’d find.”

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